"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“Reintroducing the Lost Gospel!”…December 2014
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath ABOLISHED DEATH, and brought LIFE and IMMORTALITY to light through the gospel.” 2nd Timothy 1:9, 10.
One cannot adequately teach the gospel of Christ and the apostles, while ignoring or bypassing some of the gospels that adorned the landscape of Christendom like a patchwork quilt: dating from at least 2,000 years ago. The reason is obvious! Ever since the founding of the Christian church in the first century A. D. changes and a multiplicity of gospels came on the scene like broken dolls and discarded toys that time forgot. No matter how true those facts are, we who are now living in the 21st century are living in a religious world that is still being impacted by the history of days gone by. Each prominent religious denomination (and there are scores of them) have its own roots somewhere in the annals of church history. Many of us as teachers and preachers grew up under certain forms of doctrines and religious orders as were determined by our parents.
Later on, as we started out in small ways to become ministers ourselves, we taught what we deemed to be “gospel truths” the way we learned them. However, along the way many of us were blessed to be introduced to people (both men and women) with a broader vision; and a deeper knowledge of the truth that is being revealed. First of all, back in the old days when we were kids in Sunday school, “ever evolving truth” that grows from one dimension to another, and from one plateau to another, was unheard of. In fact, as young Christians in my home church, nestled in a quaint village on the banks of the Rio Grande River, we were not permitted to read any Christian literature other than the bible. We were exhorted to receive the words of our teachers in simple child-like faith without question.
As civilization is now on the fast track, slowly, the church is now understanding that to stand still is to be left behind. Slowly! Ever so slowly, the church is now trying to see and understand that which was delivered to us shrouded in vain traditions and man-made laws. To understand where we are; and the responsibility that now rests upon our shoulders, we must scan the pages of history to determine who started what, when, and why. As we see being demonstrated in secular life, after the founding person of a great establishment dies, quickly, over time, the vision, goals, and principles of the founder gets tucked away as if in a photo album, or a large attic room, where old furniture and discarded toys are made to rest.
When I first ministered in Detroit, Michigan, I went to a church that was once part of a huge single congregation. Sundays required that many blocks within close proximity be closed to vehicular traffic, manned by police details. But my host told me that the pastor and bishop did not train anyone to succeed him; and when he died, three large congregations broke away and segmented into three separate local Assemblies.
As we ponder the importance of the gospels, we are reminded of how quickly corrosion, stagnation, and errors actually seeped into people’s belief structure. We are over two thousand years down the road from the earthly ministry of Christ. Sometimes we wonder how powerful we’d be if we were able to walk and sit with the Christ as he taught the people. But church history shows that many of those who walked hand in hand with Jesus, did not continue with the same spirit, or after the same pattern of holiness and dedication to the tenets of divine truths.
Jude shows us a classic example of how quickly morality and sound doctrine can take flight on the wings of errors, and spiritual bankruptcy. He writes: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude 3, 4. When Jude wrote, it was not yet 40 years since Christ died and rose again. Yet in that short span of time, it was needful for Jude to write unto the church, and admonish them to earnestly contend for the faith that they possessed: as it were, just a little while ago when they basked in the sunshine of hope and grace that it brought them. Like stray cattle or beasts on the range that left their bounds of grazing pastures, wicked men came in among the saints, disrupting the equilibrium and working pattern of the saints.
Like a living parasite that moves in the shadows, inflicting damage in the process, Paul found disturbing trends among the Galatian saints. But the danger was so obvious to him, that from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and summoned the elders of the church to meet with him. In their presence he gave them a solemn religious charge; them being ministers over the flock.
He warned: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers (this word is synonymous with elder, pastor, bishop) to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears.” Acts 20: 17, 28-31. But part of the problem was created by the apostles themselves, in spite of their good intentions. When the Holy Ghost came on the day of Pentecost, and the new apostolic church was born, it was intended that the old order should have been replaced by the new: but watch what actually happened.
“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” Acts 2: 46. When Jesus walked away from the temple after pronouncing its imminent demise, it was intended to be a closed chapter, marking the end of Jewry and the old priesthood. He was crucified outside the gate of the city, and we are exhorted to go to him outside the gate bearing his reproach. Heb.13:12,13. Thus, the daily visits to the temple to pray, worship, and brake bread, endorsed the old order and compromised the new. We can suppose that in the light of the recent pouring out of the Holy Spirit that resulted in three thousand souls being added to the kingdom, and with great joy permeating the hearts of the disciples, no one considered separating between old and ne Because the Jewish faction of the church continued to embrace the Law of Moses, and sought to enforce those tenets upon the entire Assembly, including Gentile converts; discord and conflicts plagued many of the Assemblies, even among those that were planted by Paul himself.
He was compelled to return to individual congregations, mostly to make corrections to the teachings offered by certain Jews who visited and ministered in his absence. The apostle referred to these infiltrations among God’s people in Galatians 2: 4. “And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage. To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.”
Paul continued to upbraid the Galatians on the basis of their slipping backward from grace, desiring to be in bondage once more. He wrote: “My little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” He added! “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage. Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain.” Galatians 4: 9-11, 19.
Paul wondered aloud: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain?” Galatians 3: 1-4. Paul used very strong language in addressing the plight in which the Galatians found themselves. But theirs was the result of hearing and receiving a “double message” in which one contradicts the other. Even today, many are ever learning and never be able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Over the many decades since we started out with Jesus; and working among the churches, we have seen many times how congregations splinted and became segmented. Sometimes this was because of mismanagement when a single family was in charge and ran the church like a family business.
At other times, someone got the feeling of being called to the ministry; so they picked out a few verses of scripture on which to base a new doctrine (usually calling it a new light) on which their “new church” would be built. At other times, and in other circumstances, a teacher or a brilliant young man saw conflicts and discontent within the Body and went on the capitalize on it and manipulate all the moving parts.
But the gospel that Jesus Christ espoused and commissioned us to preach and teach, must be pure like the river of life that John saw, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. We are searching for the gospel of life and immortality that Paul referred to in his letter to Timothy. Was this gospel restored after the Dark Ages? Or was it ever preached since the first century? The Christian landscape is like Joseph’s coat of many colors: and we can trace the disintegration and departure from the truth, back to the first century: as we said before, even while the apostles were still alive. Since the light of the gospel was almost completely extinguished in the Dark Ages; and the dawn of the Reformation came with limits and rather much of the Systems and structure of the Roman Church, we should not be surprised to recognize that there is a great portion of original truths that still have not been restored to the Body of Christ.
Let us remind ourselves of what resulted from Peter’s profound message on Pentecost that brought three thousand souls into the kingdom of God. There were just about all nations present in Jerusalem who had come to celebrate the great feast. (Acts 2: 5) The by-product of those who returned home from Jerusalem after the feast was the fact that they were left with only the bits and pieces of the gospel that they accepted at Jerusalem. Learning more and more truth was a hard process for the lack of teachers and preachers. Slowly, they developed concepts that were not a part of the original gospel preached by the apostles. In fact, this was part of the reason why Constantine and his hand-picked Bishops convened the first Nicean Council in 325 A.D., to certify and “rubber-stamp” the doctrine of the Trinity, and bring the number of churches scattered around the empire under a single umbrella of authority.
But the gospels that were selected at this council to become a part of our bible, and the doctrinal tenets approved thereby, were not inspired by the Holy Ghost, as the original teachings of Christ and his apostles were. The rippling effect was noted by John long before Constantine came on the scene, and his account went like this: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”1st John 2: 19. In fact, John called these people “antichrist” meaning that they embraced and promoted salvation by works, and not by the finished work of Christ. (Anti—means against or instead of) So if it us instead of Christ, it makes us antichrist because our own righteousness works against the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus: and that is what the greater portion of the gospel being preached today is all about.
We rolled the curtains back all the way to the first century A.D. so as to highlight the fact that erosion and false doctrines began very early: and our trek down the corridor of time takes us on a grand tour of what used to be, and what ought to be.(The faith that was once delivered unto the saints.) Elements or components of the gospel of Life and Immortality can be seen and understood by the effects of salvation upon the human body. Because his flesh could not see corruption, death had no impact or hold upon Jesus: it was not possible for his flesh to see corruption. Acts 2: 26, 27, 31. We, on the other hand are working our way upward and forward to where and when we can openly display this kind of salvation for the body. Let us observe four translations of the same verse of scripture!
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” King James Version. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another: for this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.” Revised Standard Version.
But all of us who are Christians have no veils on our faces, but reflect like mirrors the glory of the Lord. We are transfigured in ever-increasing splendor into his own image, and the transformation comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Phillips Translation. And because for us there is no veil over the face, we all reflect as in a mirror the splendor of the Lord; thus we are transfigured into his likeness, from splendor to splendor; such is the influence of the Lord who is Spirit.” New English Bible.
We see across the board from the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, Phillips Translation, and the New English Bible, a breakdown and offering of a single verse that conveys a single truth. First of all, the verse addresses those of us with “uncovered faces” meaning that we have come out from behind the false covering, behind which we lived with the expectation of death each and every day. The covering refers back to Moses and the administration of death, and Paul asserts that even today, as long as we keep reading Moses, the veil remains upon our faces; not taken away. See 2nd Corinthians 3: 14, 15.
As each translation offered above clearly shows, we are being changed from glory to glory; from splendor to splendor by the Lord who is that Holy Spirit. If we look into the mirror (the word of God) and all we see looking back at us is a poor retched sinner, looking forward to die one day not far away, we are obviously looking into the mirror from behind a veil of traditions that were placed in our laps and fed to us like babies on their mothers’ knees by our elders.
We are told that death reigned from Adam to Moses. But the laws and the prophets prophesied until John the Baptist. (Matthew 11: 13) So then death reigned from Adam to John. Bearing a new beginning across his shoulders; and a pure ministry of life coming from his lips, Jesus Christ came preaching life. Perhaps I am missing something here; so you can get back to me on this: but I cannot remember reading through the earthly ministry of Christ, and seeing where he taught that we all must die one day, like just about every preacher keeps telling us.
Jesus recognized that fact of death: he shared the pains of a loved one dying like in the case of Lazarus. But every time he came face to face with physical death, he turned it around by bringing the dead back to life. He tried using the word “sleep” to describe death as we love to do these days: because “sleep” is more acceptable, and seems to be milder and less painful than the word death. But when Jesus used the word sleep his disciples remarked that Lazarus must be doing well if he is sleeping. He had to make it plain that Lazarus is dead. A song we loved to sing in West Palm Beach went like this: “The cells of my body, speak forth a new life: every atom radiate God’s glorious life. Rejoice O earth, at the sound of my voice. I’m a new man walking, I never walked before.”
It is time for us to move away from the dim flickering flames that still support the idea of death; like cats and dogs snuggling up close to a warm fire burning in the fire place. It was nice when we first believed! We danced and even prophesied back in the good old days of Pentecost. But while we are not belittling those days, we are heralding aloud the dawning of a new day that speaks of life and immortality seeing that Christ did actually abolished death. If we preach and teach it, people will begin to believe and live it; no matter that some continue to die in the meantime. Eventually, the day will dawn and the shadows will flee away. A nation and a people will loudly ask: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory.” Because “Death shall indeed be swallowed up in victory.” 1st Corinthians 15: 54, 55. WISHING YOU ALL A MERRY CHRISTMAS, AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR THAT WILL BRING MANY OF YOUR PRAYERS AND HOPE INTO FRUITION: AND THANKS FOR YOUR LOVE AND SUPPORT IN 2014.
Royce O. Kennedy
Please be reminded to make your gifts payable to Royce Kennedy and not to the ministry. Thank you!